Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do About It

Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do About It

At the heart of our current moment lies a universal yearning, writes David Zahl, not to be happy or respected so much as enough--what religions call "righteous." To fill the void left by religion, we look to all sorts of everyday activities--from eating and parenting to dating and voting--for the identity, purpose, and meaning once provided on Sunday morning.

In our striving, we are chasing a sense of enoughness. But it remains ever out of reach, and the effort and anxiety are burning us out. Seculosity takes a thoughtful yet entertaining tour of American "performancism" and its cousins, highlighting both their ingenuity and mercilessness, all while challenging the conventional narrative of religious decline. Zahl unmasks the competing pieties around which so much of our lives revolve, and he does so in a way that's at points playful, personal, and incisive. Ultimately he brings us to a fresh appreciation for the grace of God in all its countercultural wonder.

Explore the meaning of Seculosity even further with our Seculosity discussion guide.

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  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506449432
  • eBook ISBN 9781506449449
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 250
  • Publication Date April 2, 2019


"Zahl's wise, funny book ranges from high culture to low, from Jane Austen to World Wide Wrestling, from Karl Friedrich Nietzsche to Donkey Kong to expose the false gods of the 'seculosity' that dominate our age. His message is subtle but straightforward: slow down and open yourself to the indescribable, inexorable mystery of God's grace."
—David Ignatius, columnist at The Washington Post
"There is no better observer of the human condition these days than David Zahl. Here he exposes the haunting inadequacy of our various and sundry religions -- psychological, social, political, and even ecclesial. He prepares the ground and plants the seed of divine grace that can -- if we would just rest in it -- become the healing balm for our tortured lives."
—Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today
"In this engaging, enjoyable book, you will find rest from the relentless effort to be enough and encounter Jesus, who truly loves you as you are."
—Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church
"The central message for David Zahl -- and for preaching the gospel -- is that Jesus is 'not the messiah we would elect but the one who elects us.' It's a cause for rejoicing that he has put this at the heart of Seculosity, a book that reminds us that it is not our own virtue we ought to signal, but Christ's."
—Fleming Rutledge, author of The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ


"I finished Seculosity not as a reviewer but as a penitent. The book is wise, moving, and often quite funny. Zahl has given us a tonic, smartly and affectionately revealing both the vacuity of our own pursuits and the brilliance and power of the gospel to satisfy our greatest strivings."
—Christianity Today